Famine Mortality, Rational Political Inactivity, and International Food Aid
Summary Famine mortality is preventable by government action and yet some famines kill. We develop a political theory of famine mortality based on the selectorate theory of Bueno de Mesquita et al. [Bueno de Mesquita, B. B., Morrow, J. M., Siverson, R. M., & Smith, A. (2002). Political institutions, policy choice and the survival of leaders. British Journal of Political Science, 32(4), 559-590, Bueno de Mesquita, B. B., Smith, A., Siverson, R. M., & Morrow J. M. (2003). The logic of political survival. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press]. We argue that it can be politically rational for a government, democratic or not, to remain inactive in the face of severe famine threat. We derive the testable hypotheses that famine mortality is possible in democracies, but likely to be lower than in autocracies. Moreover, a larger share of people being affected by famine relative to population size together with large quantities of international food aid being available will lower the mortality in both regime types, but more so in democracies.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000.
"The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India,"
STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers
28, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451.
- Besley, Timothy J. & Burgess, Robin, 2001. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," CEPR Discussion Papers 2721, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "The political economy of government responsiveness: theory and evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2308, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Barrett, Christopher B., 2002. "Food security and food assistance programs," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 40, pages 2103-2190 Elsevier.
- Noland, Marcus & Robinson, Sherman & Wang, Tao, 2001.
"Famine in North Korea: Causes and Cures,"
Economic Development and Cultural Change,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(4), pages 741-767, July.
- Kjell Hausken & Christian W. Martin & Thomas Plümper, 2004. "Government Spending and Taxation in Democracies and Autocracies," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 239-259, 09.
- Plumper, Thomas & Martin, Christian W, 2003. "Democracy, Government Spending, and Economic Growth: A Political-Economic Explanation of the Barro-Effect," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 117(1-2), pages 27-50, October.
- Goldsmith, Arthur A., 2001. "Foreign Aid and Statehood in Africa," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(01), pages 123-148, December.
- Sen, Amartya, 2001. "Development as Freedom," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780192893307, December.
- Wei Li & Dennis Tao Yang, 2005. "The Great Leap Forward: Anatomy of a Central Planning Disaster," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 840-877, August.
- Eric Neumayer, 2005.
"Is the allocation of food aid free from donor interest bias?,"
LSE Research Online Documents on Economics
16689, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Eric Neumayer, 2005. "Is the Allocation of Food Aid Free from Donor Interest Bias?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(3), pages 394-411.
- Daniel Goodkind & Loraine West, 2001. "The North Korean Famine and Its Demographic Impact," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(2), pages 219-238.
- Sen, Amartya K, 1977. "Starvation and Exchange Entitlements: A General Approach and Its Application to the Great Bengal Famine," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 33-59, March.
- Lavy, Victor, 1992. "Alleviating Transitory Food Crises in Sub-Saharan Africa: International Altruism and Trade," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(1), pages 125-138, January.
- Stephen Devereux, 2001. "Sen's Entitlement Approach: Critiques and Counter-critiques," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 245-263.
- Ullah, Aman, 2004. "Finite Sample Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 1, number 9780198774488, December.
- Ravallion, Martin, 1996.
"Famines and economics,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
1693, The World Bank.
- Bowbrick, Peter, 1986. "The causes of famine : A refutation of Professor Sen's theory," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 105-124, May.
- Eric Neumayer, 2003. "Do Human Rights Matter in Bilateral Aid Allocation? A Quantitative Analysis of 21 Donor Countries," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 84(3), pages 650-666.
- Bueno De Mesquita, Bruce & Morrow, James D. & Siverson, Randolph M. & Smith, Alastair, 2002. "Political Institutions, Policy Choice and the Survival of Leaders," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(04), pages 559-590, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:37:y:2009:i:1:p:50-61. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.